By Jonathan Serrie, ,
Published April 28, 2017
The NRA kicks off its annual meeting in Atlanta at a time Georgia is in the middle of two hot debates — one over who will represent the state’s 6th Congressional District, and another on whether Republican Gov. Nathan Deal should sign a bill allowing registered gun owners to carry firearms on public college campuses.
House Bill 280 is a more restrictive version of legislation the governor vetoed last year. State lawmakers modified the bill to prevent the general public from bringing firearms into college sporting events, student housing and shared space with preschool and grade school students, such as daycare facilities.
“As far as guns on campus, I'm opposed to it,” said Bona Allen, a businessman living in suburban Atlanta's hotly contested 6th district. “I think that the only guns on campus should be law enforcement.”
But attorney John Monroe, who also lives in the 6th district, disagrees.
“We're not really talking about students,” Monroe said. “It's true that a person who's 21 years of age can get a (firearms) license. But for the most part, we're talking about faculty and staff carrying on campuses.”
Second Amendment issues have yet to take center stage in the 6th District Congressional race, in which Republican Karen Handel faces a June 20 runoff against Democrat Jon Ossoff. However, President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold a fundraiser for Handel after delivering a speech at the NRA meeting.
The president, who received the NRA’s endorsement early on in his campaign, is expected to deliver pro-Second Amendment remarks that resonate with the crowd.
But lawyer Larry Rosenbluth, a 6th district Democrat who likes to hunt and considers himself a Second Amendment advocate, told Fox News he’d like to see policymakers on both sides of the gun debate seek common ground.
"The NRA has always had a policy that if you give an inch, they'll take a mile,” Rosenbluth said. “I don't think it needs to be that slippery slope where one compromise leads to drastic measures."
Amy Jeffs, who lives in 6th district and follows the Georgia legislature for the advocacy group “Moms Demand Action,” agrees.
“It's not about taking somebody's rights away,” Jeffs said. “It is not about inventorying anyone's firearms. It is about preventative measures to help end gun violence.”
Each day, about 90 people in the U.S. die in gun-related incidents, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Jeffs said “commonsense” legislation could help curb the numbers without draconian restrictions on guns.
But lawyer Monroe said he believes existing laws are enough.
"If you accept the premise that it's okay to carry a firearm some places – and I think everyone does – it's irrational to think that crime won't take place in places if all we do is ban guns in those locations,” Monroe said. “That's not what stops gun violence.”
Fox News’ David Lewkowict contributed to this report.